Just how are you judged at work?

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - Pat Perry is ERC’s chair­man and author of “Re-Shape ReDe­fine Re-Imag­ine.”

Most work­place poli­cies and com­pen­sa­tion sys­tems are de­signed to re­ward ob­serv­able be­hav­ior.

Most work­place poli­cies, per­for­mance mea­sures, and com­pen­sa­tion sys­tems are de­signed to re­ward ob­serv­able be­hav­ior.

The ques­tion is: what ac­tions at work are really be­ing judged?

Tra­di­tional work en­vi­ron­ments tend to fo­cus on the fol­low­ing be­hav­iors and at­tributes, which heav­ily in­flu­ence per­cep­tions of em­ploy­ees’ job per­for­mance and en­gage­ment:

• Time at work — How long em­ploy­ees stay at work re­flects a com­mit­ment to the job in the tra­di­tional work set­ting. Some em­ploy­ees even brag about how many hours they work in the week, equat­ing their long hours to ex­em­plary job per­for­mance and com­mit­ment to the com­pany.

A long time ago, work­ing the “60-hour work week” was con­sid­ered a badge of honor and of­ten led to ca­reer ad­vance­ment. Un­for­tu­nately, this be­hav­ior also of­ten led to worker burnout and de­clin­ing job per­for­mance over time.

• Punc­tu­al­ity — Show­ing up to work ev­ery day on or be­fore sched­uled work start times is con­sid­ered a ba­sic and es­sen­tial ex­pec­ta­tion of ev­ery em­ployee. Weather con­di­tions, sick chil­dren, snow days for schoolage kids, and the host of other is­sues that arise in the morn­ing are never con­sid­ered valid ex­cuses for em­ploy­ees be­ing even a few min­utes late for work. Talk about pres­sure and stress! And this is be­fore the day even starts!

“Yes man” — This is the term some­times used for em­ploy­ees who al­ways agree with the boss and never chal­lenge the sta­tus quo. The key to suc­cess is to play the cor­po­rate game, do as told and play pol­i­tics.

Amaz­ingly, it works for many peo­ple who re­ceive pro­mo­tions and pay ad­just­ments, not based on abil­ity or job per­for­mance, but their abil­ity to play pol­i­tics bet­ter than other em­ploy­ees.

• Com­pany comes first — It is un­der­stood that to be suc­cess­ful, em­ploy­ees need to place the com­pany over any­thing, in­clud­ing fam­ily.

This men­tal­ity is to equate com­pany loy­alty with an un­ques­tioned de­vo­tion to work over any­thing else. Work never suf­fers un­der this ar­range­ment, just fam­i­lies.

Though there are still or­ga­ni­za­tions in cor­po­rate Amer­ica that pro­mote and sup­port th­ese be­hav­iors, at­tributes, and ex­pec­ta­tions, more com­pa­nies have re­al­ized that th­ese ar­chaic per­spec­tives sim­ply do not work for to­day’s top per­form­ing em­ploy­ees.

They also re­al­ize that th­ese ridicu­lous no­tions rarely, if ever, pos­i­tively im­pact or­ga­ni­za­tional suc­cess.

I be­lieve that there is only one way to judge em­ployee per­for­mance, and that is re­sults. It’s ob­serv­able, ob­jec­tive, mea­sur­able, and sim­ple. This ap­proach works well with top per­form­ing em­ploy­ees.

Av­er­age or poor per­form­ing em­ploy­ees do not fare well in this type of work en­vi­ron­ment. They would rather be judged on be­hav­iors that have noth­ing to do with ac­tual job per­for­mance.

And to have re­sults, you need your top peo­ple en­gaged with their work. And, for your best peo­ple to be en­gaged, they need an en­vi­ron­ment where they can be free to per­form their jobs at the high­est level. It is an en­vi­ron­ment that is free of suf­fo­cat­ing work­place prac­tices, pro­grams, ex­pec­ta­tions, and pro­to­cols.

If you hire top per­form­ers,

I be­lieve that there is only one way to judge em­ployee per­for­mance, and that is re­sults. It’s ob­serv­able, ob­jec­tive, mea­sur­able, and sim­ple. This ap­proach works well with top per­form­ing em­ploy­ees.

take the hand­cuffs off, and let them do their jobs. So con­sider the fol­low­ing: • Fo­cus on qual­ity of time at work and not just time spent at work

• Ask your top per­form­ers what, if any, ob­sta­cles they have at work that pro­hibit them from per­form­ing to their po­ten­tial

• Treat peo­ple with re­spect and trust. Al­low them to man­age their sched­ules

• Let your em­ploy­ees know that recog­ni­tion and re­wards are pro­vided to those em­ploy­ees who are above av­er­age per­form­ers

• Share with your em­ploy­ees the im­por­tance of know­ing, be­liev­ing, and lov­ing their job. Re­mind them that what they do at work, when no one is watch­ing, is the real test of their en­gage­ment with their job and the com­pany

• Fo­cus on creat­ing and main­tain­ing a great work­place for top per­form­ers.

How em­ploy­ees are judged, re­viewed, and re­warded in to­day’s work­place needs to be vastly dif­fer­ent than yes­ter­year. It is a new day, and some or­ga­ni­za­tions need to wake up that the old ways are truly that — out­dated, ir­rel­e­vant, and re­jected by top per­form­ers.

Un­for­tu­nately, while tra­di­tional man­agers fo­cus all their at­ten­tion on the old ways of judg­ing em­ploy­ees’ per­for­mance, they miss see­ing their top per­form­ers walk out the door for other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Pat Perry

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